CAR OF 1998 FORD FOCUS
It’s hard to overstate the impact the Ford Focus had on the new car market. Prior to its introduction, small family cars were designed to be cheap to build, with considerations such as refinement, performance and handling somewhat down the list. Ford had followed that mantra, releasing the Escort MkV to widespread derision. The new Focus was a revelation – it handled with the aplomb of a sports car, thanks to its multilink rear suspension – unheard of in the small car sector. It was also refined and its wide range of engines gave it plenty of pep.
Its fresh design language was divisive at the time, but it was a smash hit and dominated the sector. It had a huge impact on other manufacturers – all cars, whatever the price point, now had to drive much better. For a prime example, just look at the big difference between a VW Golf MkIV and MkV.
I’ve owned two 1.6 Focuses and their sheer chuckability makes them addictive. They’re reliable, cheap and great to drive. It won’t be long until they are regarded as true classics. Deservedly so.